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Tanzania’s health workforce got a boost recently as 575 volunteer health workers – physicians, doctors, nurses and environmental health officers – were recruited into the formal health system for a period of six months.  The new recruits signed up and attended an orientation workshop in Dar es Salaam, implemented by the Benjamin Mkapa Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, and with support from development partners, including UNFPA who has provided financial assistance for the recruitment and deployment of 170 of the health workers.  

Notwithstanding the government’s commitment, a shortage of human resources for health in Tanzania continues to impact on the delivery of quality health services, including for maternal and child health. The absorption of 575 volunteer health workers into the formal system is another innovative and cost-effective approach that UNFPA is supporting in Tanzania to strengthen the health workforce – UNFPA is supporting mentorship and task-shifting programmes in Zanzibar.

The newly-recruited health workers will be deployed to 72 councils in 13 regions of Tanzania –  regions prioritized by the government, where the additional healthcare staff will strengthen capacity for the provision of essential health services as well continued disease prevention efforts. Twenty-one staff will also be deployed to Zanzibar.

UNFPA Tanzania continues to prioritize the  safeguarding of the health and rights of women and girls in its support to national COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, ensuring that essential and life-saving services and supplies are maintained as the pandemic evolves in Tanzania.  By June 2020, the Benjamin Mkapa Foundation had supported the mainstreaming of 1,064 health workers into the health sector in Tanzania to increase capacity for quality health care provision.